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Jill Doerfler '01 chosen as 2009 Driggs Lecturer

Posted by Judy Korn on Friday, Sep. 25, 2009

Jill Doerfler, University of Minnesota, Morris alumnus and assistant professor of American Indian studies at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, gave the 25th annual O. Truman Driggs Distinguished Lecture this fall on the Morris campus. Her lecture, “‘You can go dig him out of his grave’: Anishinaabe Resistance to Racialization in the 1910s” derives from her research into the question of tribal identity revealed in her investigation of fraudulent land sales on the White Earth Reservation in the early 20th century. The lecture was held on Monday, October 12, 2009, in the Humanities Fine Arts Recital Hall.

The first Morris graduate to be invited to give the O. Truman Driggs Distinguished Lecture, Doerfler was introduced by Bert Ahern, professor of history, who noted her significant scholarship, her civic engagement, and her “rising star” status in the field of American Indian studies. Before beginning her remarks, Doerfler expressed her appreciation, and stated she felt "very honored" to give the Driggs Lecture.

At Duluth, Doerfler teaches courses such as American Indians in the 20th Century, Introduction to American Indian Literature, Boarding Schools and Beyond: A History of American Indian Education, and American Indian Identity: Blood, Politics, and Casinos. The author of numerous published articles, Doerfler has presented her research at national conferences for the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, Native American Literature Symposium, American Studies Association, Organization of American Historians, American Society for Ethnohistory, Harry S. Truman Legacy Symposium, and Mid-America American Studies Association. She is a member of the constitution drafting committee for the White Earth Reservation.

Doerfler completed a doctorate in American studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in 2007 and earned a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship in American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois. She graduated with distinction from the University of Minnesota, Morris in 2001 with majors in history, American Indian studies, and a minor in anthropology. As an undergraduate, she received Scholar of the College honors the Ted Underwood Award for outstanding history graduate the President’s Outstanding Minority Scholarship, and the Ethel M. Curry Scholarship for American Indians.

Presented by the Division of the Social Sciences and the University of Minnesota, Morris Alumni Association the endowed lecture was created in 1985 by alumni and friends the late O. Truman Driggs, professor of history, who taught from 1963 until the time of his death in 1989. He served as the Division of the Social Sciences chair from 1968 until 1977. Annually, the lecture brings distinguished visitors to the Morris campus to speak on topics relating to history, the liberal arts, or public affairs.

A panel discussion, audience questions, and a reception followed the lecture.

Photo: Bert Ahern, professor of history, student Sarah Manning, Jill Doerfler '01, and Becca Gercken, assistant professor of English,